Raymond Sackler

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Raymond Sackler is an American physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Sackler and his brothers Arthur and Mortimer pursued, together and independently, careers as psychiatric researchers and practitioners, business leaders, and philanthropists.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1920, Sackler was educated at Erasmus High School, and attended New York University where he received a B.S. in 1938. He pursued medical education starting at Anderson College of Medicine (Glasgow, Scotland), and due to WWII, completed at the Middlesex University School of Medicine (a school on the site of current day Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.) where he received an M.D. degree in 1944. Sackler married Beverly Feldman in 1944. They have two sons, Richard S. Sackler and Jonathan D. Sackler.

Medical career[edit]

Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (P) in 1957, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Sackler, with his two brothers Arthur and Mortimer Sackler, were co-founders of the Creedmoor Institute for Psychobiological Studies in New York City, where they engaged in research in the psycho-biology of schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis. They received two awards from the Medical Society of the State of New York: the First Award for Scientific Research; and one year later, Honorable Mention for Scientific Research.

Pharmaceutical business[edit]

With lessons learned in research, Sackler and his brother Mortimer transitioned into the development of numerous pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and research companies, Sackler being closely associated with the now global reach of Purdue Pharma, LLP in the United States, Canada and Mundipharma, Ltd. in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Purdue Pharma, which is 100% privately owned and operated by the Sackler family (a family worth over $14 billion,including Raymond Sackler) is well known for the very successful research and development and very aggressive marketing of the opiate and extremely addictive drug and narcotic Oxycontin.

In May 2007 the company pleaded guilty to misleading the public about Oxycontin's risk of addiction, and agreed to pay $600 million in one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in U.S. history. Its president, top lawyer, and former chief medical officer pleaded guilty as individuals to misbranding charges, a criminal violation, and agreed to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines. Those executives are: Michael Friedman, the company’s president, who agreed to pay $19 million in fines; Howard R. Udell, its top lawyer, who agreed to pay $8 million; and Paul D. Goldenheim, its former medical director, who agreed to pay $7.5 million.


The Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, restored in 1992 with support of Beverly and Raymond Sackler.

Sackler and his wife Beverly, directly and through the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundations, have initiated and sustained major research programs in the biomedical, biological, physical and engineering sciences through the establishment/endowment of schools, institutes, centers, departments, endowed chairs, professorships, fellowships, research awards in the biomedical and physical sciences, and lectureships at academic institutions around the world. Sackler was privileged to enjoy the friendship, advice and guidance of a host of scientific and academic experts, including Nobel Laureates Joshua Lederberg (Rockefeller University), Emilio G. Segrè (UC Berkeley), Julius Axelrod (NIH), Phillip Sharp (MIT) and Martin Chalfie (Columbia University). A selection of several of the more prominent efforts is described below. In support of the arts, they have been recognized by the British Museum (Raymond and Beverly Sackler Wing, the Ancient Near East and Egypt), the Louvre and together with his two brothers, the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, which houses the Temple of Dendur and study centers for Chinese and Japanese Art History.

Together with his two brothers, in 1980 Sackler established doctoral educational programs at two major US Universities,

  • Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University
  • Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine

Sackler and his wife Beverly established the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Medical Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine (UK) and were important sponsors at that medical school of the MB/PhD Program and a major new cancer research program, as well as a visiting professor/lecturer in the medical sciences.

The Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University, sponsored in 1964, conjointly with his two brothers, includes the Sackler School of Medicine, the Maurice and Gabriel Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine and the Sackler Institute of Molecular Medicine. The initial sponsorship at Tel Aviv University has grown substantially over the past three decades through expanding support from Sackler and his wife Beverly, including the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences that includes schools, institutes, centers and departments in physics, mathematics, chemistry, geophysics and astronomy/planetary sciences, as well as an Institute of Biophysics, a Chair in the Nanosciences and a Chair in Bioinformatics.

Tel Aviv University also serves as the institutional sponsor of two prestigious prizes endowed by Sackler and his wife Beverly:

  • The International Prize in Physical Sciences[1]
  • The International Prize in Biophysics[2]

Sackler and his wife Beverly established the Institute of Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University with Mortimer participating.

At Leiden University in the Netherlands Sackler supported the Laboratory for Astrophysics which was name after him.[3] He also gave Leiden University an endowment for the establishment of the Raymond and Beverly Chair of American History.

Sackler was the moving force, one of the founders, and oversaw the implementation of the Sackler School of Medicine New York State / American Program chartered by the New York State Board of Regents that provides a four-year medical education program for American students at the Sackler School of Medicine of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Convergence Research Programs In the past decades, Sackler and his wife Beverly have created, supported and endowed numerous programs that embrace the concept of convergence in scientific research. These programs include:

  • The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Fellowship at Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), France, to fund invited researchers from Israel at IHÉS, 1990
  • The Raymond and Beverly Sackler American Fellowship at IHÉS, France, to fund invited researchers from the USA at IHÉS, 2002
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute of Biophysics, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2004
  • The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lectureship at IHÉS, France, 2004
  • The Raymond & Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, Yale University, 2008
  • Raymond & Beverly Sackler Laboratories of Biomedical and Biophysical Studies, Rockefeller University, 2008
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical and Physical Sciences, Weill Cornell Medical College, including a program in cardiac stem cell research dedicated to friend and colleague Professor Isadore Rosenfeld, 2008
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fund for Biomedical and Physical Sciences (in honor of Phillip A. Sharp), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratory of Biomedical and Physical Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2010
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratories in the Physics of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2010
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, 2011
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Emilio Segre, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratories for Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Saul J. Farber, New York University, School of Medicine, 2011
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology, 2012
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Herbert Pardes, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, 2012
  • The Raymond & Beverly Sackler Convergence Laboratory, Tufts University School of Medicine, 2013

In 2003, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in the Medical Sciences series was established in collaboration with the Academy of Medical Sciences. Previous speakers have included Aaron Klug, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Richard P. Lifton.

In addition, to promote national and international scientific collaboration, Sackler and his wife Beverly established in 2008, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler USA-UK Scientific Forum, to foster collaboration between the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and the Royal Society (UK).

In 2010, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Science Fund in honor of Ralph J. Cicerone, at the National Academy of Sciences (USA) was established to provide support of scientific programs independent of governmental requests/funding.[4]

In 2011, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series in Neuroscience was established at Cardiff University.

Astrophysics: Sackler and his wife Beverly have supported research in astronomy, physics, and astrophysics at many world-renowned institutions. At the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, they established International Conferences held every other year. At the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University (UK), their support of the Deep Sky Initiative Project resulted in the design, development and construction of an infrared camera and infrared spectrometer superior to those in existence, thereby significantly improving the performance of land-based telescopes. They also endowed a visiting fellowship program at the Institute of Astronomy. At Christ’s College, Trinity College, Churchill College and Magdalene College the Sackler’s endowed research fellowships at each college. At the Leiden University (Netherlands), they have sponsored the continuation of the Observatory Laboratory for research simulating conditions in outer space; they also endowed a Visiting Astronomer/Astrophysicist program. As a tribute to Raymond and Beverly Sackler's generous support of research in astrophysics and astronomy, Asteroid 7690 Sackler was named in their honor in a joint citation by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Leiden University Observatory. At IHÉS, in France, the Sacklers endowed the Raymond and Beverly Visiting Chair for Theoretical Physics and Cosmology in 2012. They endowed distinguished lectures in physics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as, a visiting professorship in Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Honors and awards (partial list)[edit]

  • Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Tel Aviv University, 1979
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, France, 1989, promoted to Officer de la Légion d'honneur, 2013
  • Honorary Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (KBE), 1995
  • Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, University of Cambridge, 1998[5]
  • Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa, University of Connecticut, 1998
  • Doctor of Science Honoris Causa, Medical University of Ohio at Toledo, 2006
  • Officer in the Royal Order of Orange Nassau, The Netherlands, 2004

See also[edit]